A crucially important demographic trend with major economic and political implications is the natural transition of the Boomer and Gen X generations to the Millennials and Zoomers. Comparatively speaking, and without getting into the details of how certain situations came about, the former grew up in, experienced, and enjoys relative prosperity, security, and social mobility throughout their lives. The latter have the opposite, who while having come from and enjoyed the prosperity of their parents, have been forced by economic situations into comparative poverty with no real way out save for a very difficult struggle that if they even attempt to undertake it, entails tremendous personal sacrifice and strain on relationships for the majority.
This divide splits on many fronts, but each split is but one part of a larger rending asunder of society, where a “break” with the past is taking place that a “future” American will be radically different from the old, defined by a way of life more similar to that of Central America where poverty is widespread, crime increases, and there is a slow crumbling of infrastructure. In other words, the US is looking less like the US, and more like other impoverished places around the world. This of course varies by area, with some places being exceptionally wealthy and neat, but this is also a reflection of the same phenomenon in other nations, as it is always that for every royal palace in Saudi Arabia with gleaming marble pillars and pristine sidewalks, there are thousands more poor Arabs who live in squalor amid the rat-infested, garbage covered slums that are strategically shielded from foreign eyes.
The overspending of the Boomers and even Gen X has enraged many Millennials and increasingly Zoomers as they have aged, for they rightly see the former generations as spending not only their wealth, but the would-be wealth of the latter on themselves. This has fomented conditions for something that I have continually warned about, which is generational warfare, and it will not be a war with guns or shooting, but waged by angry children at their parents as they lay dying in hospital beds and nursing homes with pillows pressed onto their parents faces as they smother the life out of them in an act of revenge for seeing their lives fall apart before their eyes.
As I have also repeatedly stated, this is not something good or that should be encouraged. While fighting can be necessary for certain specific problems, murder and executions almost never solves a man’s problems, but only makes them worse for everybody involved, especially for something such at the current situation.
Now while many Boomers continue to spend, a realization is coming to pass for them too, which is that even the Boomers are starting to run out of money to spend.
The GAO reviewed the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances data for households with people 55 or older and said that although disparities in income decreased as older Americans aged from their 50s into their 70s, “disparities in wealth persisted.” The continued wealth disparities among older Americans, the GAO noted, “may be due to significant differences in the median value of retirement accounts and home equity between higher- and lower-earning households.”
This finding echoes what the St. Louis Fed determined looking at wealth inequality overall in America. It determined that “wealth inequality has grown tremendously from 1989 to 2016, to the point where the top 10% of families ranked by household wealth own 77% of the wealth ‘pie.’ The bottom half of families ranked by household wealth own only 1% of the pie.”
And, the St. Louis Fed noted, the generational wealth gap has also widened.
￼Looking at the median wealth value of age groups, it said, families headed by 65- to 75-year-olds had more than seven times the wealth of families headed by 25- to 35-year-olds in 1989. But by 2016, that generational wealth gap grew significantly — older families had more than 12 times the wealth of younger families.
Older families also have more wealth than families that age did in the past, while younger families have less wealth than comparable ones did, according to the St. Louis Fed.
A financial asset ownership gap among boomers has been growing. The NIRS report indicated that from 2004 to 2016, the share of financial assets owned by the wealthiest 5% of boomer households grew from 52% in 2004 to 60% in 2016. And the share owned by the top 10% rose from 68% to 75%.
While the share of financial assets owned by the top 25% of boomer households grew from 86% to 91%, the share owned by the bottom 50% shrank from 3% in 2004 to under 2% in 2016. (source)
There are some Boomers who are doing very well, but most of them are getting poorer and it is likely not going to stop.
This is not a “cause to celebrate”, but rather, to be concerned about. As much as one should not wish death on another, one should also genuinely desire the good will of another. The fact that Boomers are getting poorer does not do anything to resolve the anger between them and the younger generations. It also does not address the fundamental point that people are getting poorer, and while attacking “that group” might feel very satisfying in the moment, it is unproductive long-term.
For those people who are willing to listen, there is a way out, and it involves a variant of a “tribal” attitude similar to what is happening around the world- for tribalism is growing -but without the inherent rejection of all other people and the desire to go to war and commit murder against them.
When I say “tribal”, it is to see the family unit as it has always been, which is a stable cell in society composed of multiple working parts that function in relative harmony. There are differences between people, and individuals have their particular concerns that need to be cared for, but the idea is that instead of seeing people all as “individuals”, it is to see people as extensions of families- as it has always been -and to see that those people work in harmony for the benefit of each other. It is not to say that “my family is better than your family because you are [insert some random justification here] so we can rob and murder all of you”, but that people help each other instead of fighting or being in unnecessary rivalry with each other.
Does a parent tell a baby “go feed yourself”? Is it right for a young man to tell an old man to “push his own wheelchair”? Neither are right, but this is the approach that is taken with smaller things. The older generations believe they are “entitled” to things, especially luxuries they may have been accustomed to in the past, and the younger are either lost, angry, or self-indulged to the point of being confused about what to do. There are many more issues too, but the fact is that much of the generational rivalry, which was pushed for the direct benefit of the select individuals and families who, having a tribalistic mindset and no care for the good of humanity and seeing themselves as better than other men by virtue of ideas about eugenics, tribe, or philosophy, attempted and divided people from each other. The people also share a blame because they turned away from God and religion and by doing this, made themselves vulnerable to manipulation from those men for whom the world is never enough.
Parents can support their children, and not just financially, but other ways in addition to finance. Millennials and Zoomers, who generally have very limited financial capacities, can help their parents with various tasks and things that they cannot do, and eventually as they are able to, with some finances. For those who want to make such an approach a success, it necessarily involves sacrifice, self-control, and likely a consolidation of resources between the two groups. It will not be easy, and it may not be possible in a total sense for all people. However, this is likely the only way to help make a bad situation better at the current point.
If one is already poor or miserable, it is for one to attempt to work very hard and to consolidate with one’s wife, and then to try to help any children as much as possible to advance themselves. This will be very hard, but it must be done if there is to be any hope for future generations.
Americans have been taught, as with many people, to see themselves in the context of their own lives. However, life is far more than themselves. What about those people who one will never meet- has their welfare been considered?
It is said by some that a wise man plants trees in whose shade he knows that he will never sit, for he gives in the now for the benefit of those in the future who will benefit, and likely some he will never meet.
It is true that there are a lot of financial problems today, and there is plenty of blame that can go around. However, this does not solve the problems, and it does not help the future, and now the Boomers are starting to suffer just as the younger generations.
Laughing at somebody covered in garbage is bad enough, and laughing at the same person when one is also covered in garbage is cruel and stupid, no matter who does it or what the context is.
It is not time so much to argue, but for the wise to “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”, to put the heads of multiple generations together in families, and work together to build a future for those who will come later for their benefit.